A vacation for kids need not be the same every year. Always look for fresh ideas to surprise your kids. Encourage them to learn a new skill, to acquire new knowledge or simply let them have some unique experiences for each vacation. Here are some simple ideas for an extraordinary vacation for your kids.
Stay away from the hotel this vacation and spend a night at the zoo with the zoo's snooze program. Kids will enjoy the Zoo Snooze Program, which often includes an up-close animal encounter, craft activities, night tours and games.
Werribee Open Range Zoo
Sydney – Western Plains Zoo
Farmstays or Farm Tours
If your kids love animals, why not plan for a farmstay? Have them engaged in interesting farm activities such as milking the cows, collecting eggs, feeding out the hay, riding on a tractor and watching sheep dogs at work. Your hosts may also bring your family for a farm walk or organize some sidetrips, guided tours or fun activities such as scuba diving, trekking and forest walks. Don't forget to bring a little gift to thank your hosts for their warm and kind hospitality. Alternatively, join a farm tour and get to cuddle a koala, try throwing a boomerang, watch a sheep shearing show or a ram parade and enjoy a billy tea around the campfire. Don't forget to have a barbeque lunch at the farm.
Gold Coast – Paradise Country Farm
Perth – Tumbulgum Farm
Melbourne – Warrook Cattle Farm
Adelaide – The Hahndorf Farm Barn
Great Rail Journeys
The Australia Rail offers many fun and breathtaking trips around its country. You can make your selection from the Sunlander, the Tilt Train, the Spirit of the Outback, the Westlander, the Inlander, Kuranda Scenic Railway, the Gulflander, the Savannahlander, the Indian Pacific, the Ghan and the Overland. It has four rail passes to meet your needs: the Wanderer, the East Coast Discovery Pass, the Austrail Flexipass and the Sunshine Rail Pass. Children under 16 years of age are entitled to concession fares. Infants three years and under may travel free if sharing a seat or sleeping berth. For more information, visit Traveltrain Holidays.
Do you know that there are many scenic places in Australia, which are part of the UNESCO sites? Take time off to admire the beautiful creation of God. Many of these sites are mountains, reefs, islands, or national parks where kids can have a wonderful time roaming around and feeling the breath of nature. For instance, Great Barrier Reef, Tasmanian Wilderness, Wet Tropics of Queensland, Shark Bay, Western Australia, Fraser Island, Macquarie Island and the Greater Blue Mountains Area are great for family excursions. Kids will love the gondola rides to the mountain tops; or fish, dive or snorkel at the amazing reefs, or have a fun time trekking at the national parks. You can even camp overnight with your kids at some national parks. For a comprehensive list of the UNESCO sites, visit the UNESCO website for more details.
Zoos and Wildlife Parks
Kids love wildlife! There are many ways to enjoy it. A visit to the zoo is a good start. Check the event calendar of the zoo and do not miss the animal shows. Animal shows are always interesting, and often include audience participation games, keeper chats and animal demonstrations. There are also zoos that allow kids to touch, pat or cuddle the animals.
Sydney – Featherdale Wildlife Park, Koala Park Sanctuary, Taronga Zoo
Brisbane – Alma Park Zoo, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Adelaide – Adelaide Zoo
Perth – Perth Zoo, Caversham Wildlife Park, Cohunu Koala Park, Penguin Island
Melbourne – Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo
Canberra – National Zoo and Aquarium
Plan a trip to the aquarium. Enjoy their training sessions where you can watch the aquarists feeding and training the sea animals. Why not encourage your kids to be aquarium keepers for a day?
Sydney – Oceanworld Manly, Sydney Aquarium
Melbourne – Melbourne Aquarium
Perth – The Aquarium of Western Australia
Another way of getting to know wildlife is to embark on a wildlife cruise. Observe animals such as whales, dolphins, penguins, as well as other sea birds in their natural habitats. Usually, the cruise is fully narrated by a skipper who has a wealth of knowledge. Majority of the catamarans are suitable for families and for young children. Do ensure that your children are supervised at all times for their own safety. Remember to bring warm clothing, a hat and apply some sunscreen lotion. Have a good time experiencing an aquatic adventure that your kids will remember for a lifetime.
Perth – Rockingham Dolphins, Carins – Great Barrier Reef
Tasmania – Peppermint Bay Cruise
Phillip Island – Whale Watching, Seals & Penguins
Hervey Bay – Whale Watching
The museum is always a child's delight. It offers a myriad of activities and hands-on opportunities for them to unleash their creativity and imagination. Different museums will have different themes and galleries ranging from physical and natural sciences, history, world cultures and the arts. Check the event calendar and find out the featured programs of the museum.
Sydney – Maritime Museum, Sydney Children's Museum
Adelaide – Charles Sturt Museum
Brisbane – Museum of Brisbane
Tasmania -Tasmanian Transport Museum, The Maritime Museum of Tasmania
Perth – The Perth Mint
Vacations are great learning journeys. Plan a visit to the factories and learn how cheese and jam are made, or simply have fun watching demonstrations at the ginger factory and honey factory. Kids will enjoy the various demonstrations, hands-on opportunities and get a chance to taste the products. Don't forget to bring back some memorable gifts for your kids.
Brisbane – The Big Pineapple, The Ginger Factory, The Superbee Honey Factory
Tasmania – Cadburys Chocolate Factory, Ashgrove Cheese Factory
Themeparks are always a draw for kids. Remember to observe the safety precautions and rules of the themepark. Not all rides are suitable for children as some have age or height restrictions. You can obtain information on the available kid’s rides from the website of the themepark. Remember to dress comfortably. Protect your family from the sun with sunscreen and headgear, even on cloudy days. Don't forget to drink plenty of water and have a fun day at the themepark.
Sydney – Luna Park
Brisbane – Seaworld, Dream World, Movie World, Wet n Wild World
Perth – Adventure World.
Spend a day at the botantical gardens to learn more about the plants, flowers and trees. Some gardens have seasonal highlights for spring, summer; autumn and winter; while others have a blooming calendar identifying the varieties of flowers in bloom for different seasons. You may wish to print out the pictures of the flowers from the website and get your kids to name them at the garden. Bring them to the interactive botanical play zone or the children's garden for a time of play. Alternatively, enjoy a guided tour at the garden.
You can also plan a trip to the many fruit farms in Australia. Your kids will love picking the strawberries, cherries or raspberries and learn about the different products, which the farm produces. Moms will be delighted to grab some recipes at the farm, while dads can indulge in the variety of delightful products. Do note that some fruits are seasonal, hence it is important to check the website of the farm to find out the types of fruits available.
Sydney – Royal Botanic Gardens
Melbourne – Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm
Tasmania – Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens; The Tamar Valley
Adelaide – Beerenberg Farm
Albany – Willow Creek
Tweed Valley – Tropical Fruit World.
Australia has many lovely islands, which are ideal for family excursions. These islands are teemed with an array of wildlife, and their marine and coastal scenery will be memorable. Your family will love the many activities such as marine tours, fishing, sailing, cruising, scuba diving, surfing, snorkelling and swimming. Each island is also unique in flora, fauna and national parks. You can spot wildlife, admire the flora, take a walk or simply enjoy the attractions on the island.
Penguin Island, Kangeroo Island, Rottnest Island, Fraser Island, Hamilton Island, Phillip Island.
Always make your vacation a fun trip for your kids. Give them plenty of opportunities to explore and discover with all their senses. Take the opportunity to acquire new knowledge or learn a new skill. Your kids can learn to dive with sharks at the aquariums or swim with the dolphins, learn how to snorkel at the reefs or surf at the beaches. Other unique experiences which you may wish to consider for your vacation include helicopter rides, skiing, or take a trip to the sky in a hot air balloon. With good planning, your vacation will never be the same again!
The above are just some simple ideas for an extraordinary vacation for your kids. There are definitely more places for you to explore and discover a new adventure for your family. May your family have a happy and blessed vacation in Australia.
About the Author
Jasmine Ho is a stay-home-mom with two kids living in Singapore. She writes for Kids Love Vacations, a simple travel guide with travel tips, fun activities and attractions, sightseeing passes, family vacations, travel bargains, and travel resources.